❶ Clarity of vision. When you get together with your teams, it’s the leader’s job to communicate, communicate, and communicate again the vision, the strategy, and the tactics. Conveying your vision at every opportunity is the only way to keep it fresh, to check its ongoing relevance, and to engage the people who know best in evolving it in the face of changing circumstances.
Involvement. Only people have ideas! Hardware, software, and standard operating procedures are important, but your success is only possible when your people are fully engaged with you in your enterprise. Every meeting has its personal side. And every person has their needs to be listened to, to be respected, and to be able to contribute.
❷ Competition between organizations is a good thing. Competition within a business is an unhealthy sign. Personal ambition, especially where it produces the undermining of colleagues, draws everyone’s attention and energy away from your vision.
It is our responsibility as leaders to set the tone in every team meeting. To outlaw the deplorable modern trend towards what I call “scapegoat humor” – I blame TV – and always maintain the self esteem of each individual. The gospel according to PBC and Alan Mulally is “Working together always works. It always works. Everybody has to be on the team. They have to be interdependent with each other.”
❸ Systematic application of tools for quality. On the practical side of team meetings, there are three overarching reasons for getting together: 1) to solve problems, 2) to generate ideas for improvement, and/or 3) to communicate. Use the 4 Ps checklist – processes, people, products, points for action — to ensure you fully communicate everything you and your team need to know.
Teams also need a process for achieving continuous improvement. Without it, meetings can become repetitive and routine, and drift into pointlessness. We always recommend “the IMPROVEment” cycle. You can read our white paper “Thriving in a Matrix World” at this link. It is a superb toolbox with everything you need to work on what Mulally calls your “better plan.”